Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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CHUREL

(CHUR-el)
Variations: ALVANTIN, CHEDIPE, Churail, Churreyls, MUKAI, Nahulai
In India, when a woman dies an unnaturaldeath or in childbirth, she will return as a type of undead (see UNDEATH). However, if she should do so during the five-day Festival of Diwali, she returns specifically as the vampiric REVENANT known as a churel.
Churels are an extremely ugly species of vampire in their true form, having backward-facing feet; a black tongue; sagging breasts; thick, rough lips; and wild HAIR. However, the churel has the ability to shape-shift as it is occasionally described as being a beautiful woman who carries a lantern.
A bitter creature, carrying the anger of herearly and tragic death, the churel starts its vampiric life by attacking the male members of its family. Beginning with the youngest and most handsome man in its family line, it will seduce him and drain him dry of his blood, leaving only a shriveled husk of an old man behind. Once the men of its family are used up, it will move on to others, stalking the roadways and luring lone male travelers astray. Sometimes it will capture a man and take him back to its lair in a graveyard. There, it will keep him prisoner, feeding off him a little at a time.
In some places to the south, there is the practice of making a Stonehenge-like structure at the entryway to the village that is blessed in order to keep a churel from entering.
Source: Briggs, The Cham Irs, 129­31; Crooke, An Introduction to the Popular Religion, 69­70, 72, 168­71; Kiev, Magic, 135, 136; Taylor, Death and the Afterlife, 67
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